This simple 3-step Christian weight loss system will help you conquer food cravings with practical steps and faithful encouragement.
100 pounds ago, I felt completely out of control when it came to food.
If I saw a commercial for fast food, it became an instant craving that I would dwell on until I could get my hands on whatever new burger they were advertising.
When a friend posted their birthday party pictures on Instagram, I would drool over their chocolate cake pictures and find a cake as similar as I could ASAP.
I could be reading an Amish fiction book and their descriptions of big, hearty breakfasts and warm apple pie would not only make my mouth water but also drive me straight to a restaurant that would fulfill my food daydreams.
My food cravings ruled my life.
If I craved it, I found a way to eat it. And, as you can imagine, that led to a whole lot of weight gain.
Those food cravings described above are not the result of physical hunger. Scientists even describe them as “mind hunger.”
After years of battling these cravings, they are no longer guiding my decisions anymore.
The answer to a food craving is always, “No.”
But not in quite the way you think! It’s not that I never let myself eat the food that sounds good.
It’s just that I’ve completely changed the way I respond to cravings using the 3 Ps.
Using The 3 Ps When Cravings Hit
When you train yourself to give in to food cravings, you are creating a bad habit that gives yourself permission to appease every desire you have as soon as it comes along.
No matter how long you have been giving in to your food cravings, you can change that pattern in your life starting right now.
Keep in mind that it takes time and practice to change those ingrained bad habits, but it WILL work!
The 3 Ps is just one of the many tools we teach you in our Faithful Finish Lines Christian Weight Loss program to overcome emotional eating and find freedom from cravings, insecurities, and more.
#1 – Pause
When a food craving hits, it is an intense desire that demands attention.
It demands the specific food it wants and it requires it NOW (and, often, it wants a large quantity of that food).
Instead of giving in to its demands, just pause for 10 minutes. I don’t mean to pause everything in life and just sit there thinking about the food for 10 minutes.
I mean to keep living. Go about your day.
We have a whole list of suggestions for ways to spend this paused time in our program that help you to grow stronger every time you practice this pause, but no matter what you do, do not give in to that food craving during that time.
Recognize that the food sounds really good, but make sure you wait at least 10 minutes before eating anything.
This step alone starts to rewire your brain.
Instead of teaching yourself to expect instant gratification every time you have a food craving, you are teaching yourself patience and self-control, simply by waiting.
#2 – Pray
Food cravings are just another form of temptation, meaning, it’s something trying to convince you to sin.
When we are talking about breaking a lifestyle of overeating, we are dealing with more than a habit problem.
We are dealing with a sin problem.
The immediate temptation with sin is to downplay the problem, saying, “It’s just food. It’s not that big a deal.” or “I’m not hurting anyone else.”
Regularly giving in to food cravings is a sign that you are out of control in your eating.
Don’t downplay that this is a problem.
Don’t minimize it by telling yourself God couldn’t care about something as little as this.
We aren’t strong enough to defeat sin on our own, but we serve a God who is more than powerful enough.
In step 2 of the 3 Ps, ask Him for help.
You could pray something like, Lord, I really want chocolate cake right now. I’ve given into these cravings too many times before and I don’t want to give in anymore. I know this is just a temptation and I really want to be strong enough to just say no, but I’m not right now. I need your help. I need your strength. I want to honor You in my decisions. Will you please show me how I can do that right now? Thank You, Lord. In Your Son’s name I pray, amen.
You can find another prayer for weight loss here.
It’s also a good idea to include God’s Word in this step. It reminds you of the Truth, encourages you, and empowers you in that moment of temptation.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
#3 – Plan
This is probably the most surprising step of the 3 Ps.
See, we are not trying to tell you those foods you crave or bad or forbidden (I don’t believe in forbidding foods from your diet!).
What we are encouraging you to do is change the way you respond to cravings.
Before, when you craved a food, you gave in. You fed the craving, which only makes them worse over time.
Now, following the 3 Ps, you have already paused, taking the intensity out of the craving, and you have also prayed, asking for God’s strength to help you resist the craving.
In this step, if that particular food still sounds really good to you, you are going to plan it into your food for tomorrow.
Your response to the craving was still, “No.” The craving was demanding that you get that food ASAP.
This is you putting your craving in its place and saying, “Yeah, I can absolutely have that food if I want it, but I’m going to eat it on my terms.”
Often, when we are giving in to intense food cravings, we eat far more than we normally would.
Now, you are intentionally planning this food into your healthy diet.
If you are trying to lose weight, make sure it fits into your calories for the day.
I also recommend not planning tempting treats at night (you can read why I stopped eating dessert at night here), but instead, in the morning or afternoon.
Treats can still be a part of your healthy diet (another thing we include in our FFL 2.0 program that encourages realistic weight loss!).
This teaches you that you can still have those foods you are craving, but you don’t have to have urgency in doing so.
Have Realistic Expectations For Your Eating
Like I mentioned earlier, this is not a one-time process that will stop your food cravings for good. When you have built a bad habit over many years, it takes time to retrain yourself and build a healthy response in its place!
But every time you practice this process, you are going to take more and more intensity out of your food cravings.
The first time you do this, maybe the best you can do is set the timer for 10 minutes and then you end up eating the food you are craving when it beeps.
That’s okay. It’s still a step in the right direction!
Practice makes perfect.
Women often ask me if I still have food cravings after losing 100 pounds.
But because I have set healthy boundaries for those food cravings, instead of feeling like, “I have to have french fries right now! I am going to order the biggest size they offer! Where is the nearest fast food joint?”
They are more like, “Man, french fries sound really good right now. Today’s meals are already planned, but it would be fun to get some this weekend.“
Cravings don’t dictate my decisions anymore.